How to Borrow Airtime from Airtel in Nigeria

How to Borrow Airtime from Airtel in Nigeria

Getting emergency airtime when your phone balance runs out can be very frustrating. Luckily, Airtel Nigeria offers its prepaid customers the ability to borrow airtime and continue making calls or using data when they have no credit left. This service allows you to borrow airtime and pay back later when you recharge your phone.

How to Borrow Airtime from Airtel in Nigeria


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There are two main methods you can use to borrow airtime from Airtel Nigeria:

1. Using the USSD Code *500#

The most common and convenient way to borrow airtime from Airtel is by dialing *500# on your phone and using the USSD menu. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Dial *500#

Use your Airtel SIM card to dial *500# on your mobile phone. This will bring up the Airtel USSD menu.<img src=”ussd-menu.png” alt=”Airtel USSD menu” width=”300″>

Step 2: Select Option 2 for “Borrow Credit”

From the USSD menu, select option 2 which is “Borrow Credit”. This will take you to the borrowing credit menu.

Step 3: Choose the Amount to Borrow

You will be presented with various airtime borrowing options to choose from – N25, N50, N100, N200, and N500. Select the amount you wish to borrow by entering the corresponding number.

For example, enter 1 to borrow N25 airtime.

Step 4: Confirm Borrow Request

Airtel will send a message asking you to confirm that you want to borrow the airtime. Reply 1 to complete the airtime loan request.

Step 5: Get Confirmation Message

You will receive an SMS confirming that your airtime loan was successful, along with details of the amount borrowed and fees charged.

For example:

You have successfully borrowed N100, N15 borrowing fee deducted. Pay back N115 on next recharge to maintain good standing

And that’s it! The borrowed airtime will reflect in your account balance immediately and you can start using it to make calls or browse the internet.

2. Using the USSD Code *121#

If for some reason the *500# method is not working, you can alternatively borrow airtime from Airtel using USSD code *121#.

Here is how to borrow airtime using *121#:

Step 1: Dial *121#

Use your Airtel SIM to dial *121# to bring up the Airtel self-care menu.<img src=”ussd-menu-2.png” alt=”Airtel self-care menu” width=”300″>

Step 2: Select Option 3 for “Borrow Credit”

From the menu, select option 3 which is “Borrow Credit”. This will take you to the borrowing credit section.

Step 3: Choose Amount to Borrow

Just like with *500#, you will be shown borrowing options of N25, N50, N100, N200 and N500. Choose desired amount.

Step 4: Confirm Borrow Request

Airtel will ask you to confirm airtime loan. Reply 1 to complete.

Step 5: Get Confirmation SMS

You will get an SMS confirming your successful airtime loan and fees charged. You can now use the borrowed airtime.

So in summary, while *500# is the standard way to borrow airtime from Airtel, you can also use *121# if for some reason *500# is unavailable or not working. The process is mostly similar.

Important Things to Note When Borrowing Airtime

There are some crucial things you should keep in mind when borrowing airtime from Airtel:

Must Have Registered Airtel SIM

  • You must have a registered Airtel SIM card to access the airtime borrowing service. Make sure your SIM card is properly registered and verified with valid KYC documents. Unregistered lines cannot borrow airtime.

Good Credit History Required

  • You need to have a good credit history with on-time repayments for previous airtime loans. Customers with late repayments may be blacklisted from the service.

Borrow Limit Based on Credit Score

  • The maximum amount of airtime you can borrow depends on your creditworthiness as determined by Airtel. Good paying customers get higher borrow limits.

15% Service Fee, 20% for N25

  • You will be charged a service fee of 15% on the borrowed amount. So if you borrow N100 airtime, N15 will be deducted so you get N85 credit. The N25 borrowing option has a higher 20% fee.

Auto-repayment on Next Recharge

  • The borrowed airtime fee will be automatically deducted from your next recharge to repay the loan. So recharge with enough credit to cover the repayment.

Bad Credit Can Affect Future Loans

  • Make sure to repay your loans on time. Defaulting can negatively impact your credit standing and eligibility for future airtime loans.
how do i borrow airtime from airtel

frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about borrowing airtime from Airtel:

What happens if I don’t repay the airtime loan?

  • If you fail to repay the borrowed airtime after your next recharge, you risk being blacklisted from the Airtel borrowing service permanently. Always repay on time to maintain a good standing.

Can I borrow airtime more than once?

  • Yes, existing borrowers who have repaid their previous loans promptly can borrow airtime multiple times within Airtel’s limits. However maximum borrow amount at once is capped based on credit score.

What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

  • The maximum borrow limit varies from customer to customer based on individual creditworthiness as determined by Airtel’s internal risk algorithms. Good paying customers can borrow up to N500 at once while new borrowers start with smaller limits.

Do I need to have any minimum balance to borrow airtime?

  • No, you can borrow airtime even when your balance is completely zero. There is no minimum balance requirement to initiate an airtime loan.

What happens if I switch to another network before repaying?

  • Switching networks before repaying your outstanding Airtel airtime loan amounts to default. Your Airtel line may be permanently barred from availing airtime loans in future even if you port back.

Can I borrow airtime on my family/friend’s number using my line?

  • No. Airtel’s airtime borrowing functionality is strictly limited to the individual customer only for registered lines as creditworthiness for lending purposes is tied to each unique GSM number.

I hope this expanded guide gives you all the details on how to easily borrow emergency airtime from Airtel.


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